vermont woods studios
I'm trying not to feel too wounded. We got a call from World Wildlife Fund WWF today. I've been a contributing member and ardent promoter of their work since I graduated from college and got my first full time job in 1980. After 31 years of enthusiastic support, they called me today to tell me that I'm not allowed to mention their name on my Vermont Woods Studios Furniture website anymore.
See… we recently launched a Save the Tiger campaign to raise awareness of the fact that all species of tigers are endangered and some are on the brink of extinction. Their habitat is being destroyed and to some extent it's because corrupt timber conglomerates are clear-cutting the forests they live in and using the wood for cheap imported furniture and flooring that's sold in the US and Europe. We oppose that and so does WWF. We support their Save the Tiger fund and we encourage furniture shoppers to buy American furniture made from sustainably harvested American wood.
Well I guess they don't like their name being connected to a commercial venture. I understand their concern about the fact that there are dirt ball websites out there that might use their name dishonestly, but really. I asked WWF to spend 5 minutes on our website and tell me we're one of those guys. They agreed that our committment to conservation seems genuine but then noted that in order to be considered WWF partners and refer to them on your website, a minimum "6 figure donation" is required annually along with a long list of other things. Actually, I think we would be OK with the other requirements but $100,000 is equal to 1/6 of our total revenue (not profits) last year. So now I have to face the fact that I've been summarily rejected by my all time favorite charity– an organization that had a profound influence on the whole concept defining Vermont Woods Studios Furniture. How sad is that?
I'm going to finish crying in my beer tonight. Tomorrow I'll be over it and moved on to other issues. But tonight I can't help feeling a bit jaded about WWF and their corporate partnership program. What do you think?
We've been busy lately at Vermont Woods Studios Furniture– finally moving into our new showroom in Vernon, Vermont. Yeah!!! It's taken over a year to recover from the fire last Christmas Eve that took our wonderful friend Annette's home and farm– and along with it– our showroom.
But Douglas and Rebecca have been working the last few weekends– moving all or our electronics and office systems to our new space. Ken and the boys helped move new desks and bookshelves in. This week we hope to wrap up much of the process by moving our first shipment of furniture.
The new office and showroom is located next to the Post Office in Vernon, Vermont at 2531 Fort Bridgman Rd Vernon, VT. Drop by and see us!
Furniture made of solid cherry wood is considered some of the finest furniture available in the world today. That's because cherry is a beautiful, stable hardwood that develops a rich reddish brown patina over the years and just keeps getting more gorgeous as time goes by.
I'm always saddened when customers tell us they've been searching in their local areas and online for solid cherry furniture and they haven't been able to find the real thing.
What's happened is that the larger furniture companies (like Bassett, Lane, Broyhill, Thomasville, Ethan Allen and others) have opted for low-price over quality in their furniture designs. They typically use cheaper, lower quality woods, stain them and then call them "cherry". The worst part is that the stains don't even remotely look like real cherry wood, but this cheap furniture is so plentiful that people often think that stain is the actual color of cherry. At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture it breaks our craftsmans' hearts when people ask them to stain solid cherry furniture to make it match existing fake "cherry" furniture that's in their homes.
Here are some examples of solid cherry wood furniture. You'll notice there are varying degrees of color. Natural cherry wood starts out a light pinkish color and darkens over time with exposure to light. Eventually it ripens to a stunning reddish brown. You can hasten the darkening process by oiling the wood often.
If you're shopping for cherry furniture and you have any doubts about the wood, be sure to ask the salesperson if it's authentic cherry wood. Ask where it's from too. The best cherry in the world is grown in Pennsylvania and West Virginia and because we don't have much cherry in Vermont, that's where we get ours from. More on cherry wood furniture here.
Tune in to Brattleboro Radio WKVT 92.7 FM / 1490 AM tomorrow morning from 10-11AM to hear Steve West and me chat all about the work of artisans like Chad Woodruff and Greg Goodman and the fact that Vermont is the fine furniture capitol of America.
Many thanks to Steve and Crystal for giving us this opportunity to spread the word about Vermont's awesome furniture makers and our online furniture gallery at Vermont Woods Studios.
Do you ever worry about someone who isn't able to fix themselves a nutritous hot meal every day? Now, during the holiday season would be a great time to refer them to Meals on Wheels.
The Meals On Wheels Association of America is the oldest and largest national organization composed of local, community-based Senior Nutrition Programs in all 50 U.S. states. These programs provide well over one million meals to seniors who need them each day.
Did you know that hunger is a serious threat facing millions of seniors in the United States? Nearly six million seniors faced the threat of hunger in 2007. Over 11% of all seniors experienced some form of food insecurity that year.
At Vermont Woods Studios Furniture we take turns volunteering for Meals on Wheels in our own town of Vernon, VT. It's not just a great way to serve your community, it's also a lot of fun. It only takes about an hour/week per volunteer if each volunteer signs up for a different day. Why not sign up to deliver Meals on Wheels in your community?
Our thanks go out to Vernon, USA's most famous DJ, the Great Tim Johnson of WTSA.net for inviting us into his studio for an interview highlighting the work of Vermont Woods Studios Fine Furniture Makers.
Tune in to 96.7FM and you'll hear snippets of our conversation with Tim interspersed with great music, local news and lots of fun and games.
Led by Tim, WTSA does a lot of good work for our community including projects like Feed the Thousands and The Reformer Christmas Stocking. We appreciate Tim's outreach work and are proud to be included in WTSA's fine programming.
Our thanks go out to the fine people at the Marlboro College Graduate Center in Brattleboro, Vermont for their help and support in a recent project we collaborated on together.
MBA students, Jennifer Marshall Grantham, Rupert Grantham and Don Simms who are completing their Masters in Business Administration Degrees in Managing for Sustainability worked with us at Vermont Woods Studios to provide research and recommendations on growth strategies for our business.
We greatly appreciate their time, talents and insight into our business. I also wanted to thank their advisors Bruce Gardner of the Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation BDCC and Will Keyser of the Marlboro Grad Center and Startup Owl, who have contributed their expertise to our strategic growth plan. We value this partnership and look forward to further collaborations in the future.
Ken managed to get me on his Harley this weekend and we drove up to Woodstock to see our friends and colleagues at the Vermont Fine Furniture Festival. If you haven't been yet, you are missing out! It's well worth the trip, especially on a beautiful day like we had this year. Here are some pictures of the festival and our trip.
Here's Bruce Wilkie of On Vermont Time – Beautiful handcrafted clocks and custom furniture.
Vermont's beautiful Fall produce and flowers are available at farm stands everywhere. Sadly we had no room to carry any home
Many of the finest furniture makers in the state and indeed the country
were at the Festival showing their latest works of art, demonstrating
their craft and offering fabulous deals on handcrafted, Vermont made
solid wood furniture.
Scott Duffy of Rockledge Farm was showing this beautiful walnut table. It has a soft live edge you can barely see, but it's absolutely gorgeous.
Jim Becker makes incredible windsor chairs, barstools and lots of other beautiful furniture as well.
This is a new Craftsman bed we're just beginning to carry at Vermont Woods Studios.
Neal Albert of Shelburne Fine Woodworking makes high end custom kitchen cabinets and a line of custom tables with secret compartments.
A wooden guitar case from the Vermont Woodworking school.
If you were unlucky enough to miss the Vermont Furniture Festival this year, put it on your calendar for next year. It's always around the last weekend in September. It's a great destination and the perfect excuse to get outside and enjoy Vermont's colorful Autumn scenery.
Many thanks to Emily Maltby of the Wall Street Journal for including Vermont Woods Studios in her story about how small businesses are reacting to the Small Business Jobs Act recently passed by the Senate. I was telling Emily that we've been fortunate that our business has continued to grow even during the recession. I attribute that to our customers of course and to the dedication and constant hard work of our team members who are determined to make this American made brand successful. If we can take advantage of the SBJA, all the better!
The Nature Conservancy is one of our favorite charities here at Vermont Woods Studios. TNC has been working to protect Earth’s most important natural places — for us and future generations— for nearly 60 years. They are one of the leading conservation organizations in the world and their reputation for great science and smart partnerships is renowned.
Plant A Billion Trees is one of TNCs ongoing projects that dovetails with our mission of forest preservation at Vermont Woods Studios. The goal is to save one of the world’s most endangered rainforests, The Brazilian Atlantic Forest:
“Animal and plant life of every imaginable kind live under the lush, green canopy of Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. High in the treetops, golden lion tamarins forage for food while woolly spider monkeys gather fruit and nuts. Blue-winged macaws, red-tailed parrots and countless other birds call out while elusive jaguars prowl the forest floor.”
The strategy is to plant a tree for every dollar raised: one dollar, one tree, one planet. You’ll start to see fundraising buttons on our site as we get this project up and running over the next few months. Our goal is to raise $2000 for the initiative. You can make a lasting difference now and for future generations. All it takes is a dollar. Thanks for your help!